The genus Rubus, (especially the blackberries, which are often loosely referred to as Rubus fruticosus agg.) presents some of the most difficult taxonomic problems. This is partly due to the frequency of polyploidy; also to the frequent occurrence of hybridization; and also due to apomixis, where minor differences between plants are preserved because seedlings are genetically identical to their parent. As a result, differences of opinion on the number of species to be recognized from a given region can vary tremendously (for example, a treatment by M. L. Fernald[
] in 1950 recognized 205 species for the northern half of the eastern United States plus parts of southeastern Canada, whilst H. A. Gleason and A. Cronquist in 1991 recognized only 25)[
]. Where possible, a relatively conservative approach is taken here[
Rubus serissimus L.H.Bailey
Rubus uliginosus Fernald
Common Name: Nanticoke Blackberry
Rubus pascuus is a deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub, producing each year a cluster of arching, prickly, biennial stems from a woody rootstock; the stems can grow 70 - 300cm long[
]. The stems only produce leaves, and do not flower, in their first year of growth; forming flowering branches in their second year and then dying after fruiting.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes cultivated for its fruit in the USA with old cultivars such as 'The Topsy' and 'Tree Blackberry and more recent ones such as 'Naticope' (which is sometimes also referred to Rubus cuneifolius)[
Eastern N. America - Kentucky, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina.
Dry to wet argillaceous, siliceous or peaty soils[
]. Woodland edges, swamp margins, dry thickets, open and often disturbed areas, roadsides; at elevations up to 300 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Rubus pascuus is probably more widespread than indicated here. The species is most likely to be mistaken for Rubus bifrons, Rubus cuneifolius, or Rubus pensilvanicus. A notable aspect of Rubus pascuus is how vigorously armed it is, more so than most other Rubus species in the flora area[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Rich and juicy[
]. The black, globose to subcylindrical fruits are around 10 - 20mm in diameter[
A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit[
Seed - requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3Â°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame[
Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn.
Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn[